Newsletter – October 2019
In this issue
As we move from a fossil fuel economy to a renewable energy economy, we see more and more players involved in energy decisions. Such a massive transition presents an opportunity to create a more inclusive society – a society which respects new voices and forces, and a society equipped to accelerate transitions.
Building and living in more inclusive societies is not always easy: it requires us to see our differences, to listen to others with whom we might not agree, to raise our voice when it is unclear how our audience will react, to come together, to debate, and sometimes to have the courage to change our minds. Controversy can be uncomfortable, however confrontations of ideas is an avenue to making norms evolve, to rendering the unacceptable acceptable and to building futures that are different of today’s realities. An inclusive society requires us to leave our comfort zones.
The last days at UN Climate Summit exhibited the benefits of including new voices. From all voices heard, young people seem to be the only one to dare saying things in at truthful and uncompromising way. And this was not the case only in New York –all over the world, young, informed people raised their voices in Global Climate Strikes. This truth is uncomfortable, but one day, hopefully in the near future, societies all over the world will thank these young people. We will thank them for forcing us to face the reality of climate change with real action, not announcements.
Listening to these voices is a start, but it is not enough! Encouraging these voices is good, but it’s not enough. We need to do more: we need to empower the players and anchor them in the decision process. We need to actively build on the strength of these new views, forces and perspectives, and anchor them in the political and economic systems of the future. The decisions we take today need to be determined by the future we picture.
In the preparation of KIREC Seoul 2019, another set of important voices need to be included more systematically in the energy transition –the voices of women. Though we certainly aim for gender equality on the panels, we are struggling with implementing this. This example shows again, we must actively work to anchor gender equality — in panel discussions and events, as well as more broadly into economic and political contexts. Part of our quest for a more inclusive society requires that we prioritise gender equality and include women as leaders to level the gender imbalance — in the energy sector and beyond.
Why do we need to include more women? As we accelerate the energy transition, another way of thinking is needed. The energy transition is an opportunity to give women an active role in all historically male-dominated sectors, to incorporate a multitude of fresh ideas and to break limiting molds. Just as much as renewable energy presents an opportunity for women, women are an opportunity for profound and positive changes in our energy systems. We need to tap into this opportunity.
Some of our members are engaging in gathering information about gender — IRENA and GWNET teamed with the Global Wind Energy Council to launch the Global Survey of the Wind Industry. What I want to see now are structural changes that ensure young voices, women, and the underrepresented are heard. We need to be sure that decision-making processes are participatory, inclusive, and collaborative.
In the end, everything comes down to access to information, empowerment and governance. It is not enough to listen and applaud when a young person or a woman speaks up. Since true inclusivity is not the norm yet, it is necessary that we employ specific, strategic and structural attention to empower underrepresented individuals and groups of people and ensure their perspective is heard and respected.
I am not sure of how exactly we will achieve this. What I can say is that I will remain attentive. I will voice my reactions when situations seem unfair, and I will do my best to make for balanced representation whenever I have a part. I’ll close by thanking those who speak up. Even if what they say is criticised, unpopular or difficult.
Executive Secretary, REN21
News from the REN21 Secretariat
Asia and the Pacific Renewables Energy Status Report Available 22 October
With Peer Review now finished, the Asia and the Pacific Renewables Energy Status Report is in the final production stage. It will be available 22 October, just before the 8th International Renewable Energy Conference in Seoul 2019 (KIREC – Seoul 2019).
The diversity of this vast region offers a huge market potential for renewable energy in the region. The report maps developments in renewable energy across the region and is also a key input to KIREC – Seoul 2019 taking place at the end of the month.
The report is a collective effort – thank you to all who contributed their expertise to this report so far! Sign up here to receive the report by email when it is published.
Upcoming: KIREC – Seoul 2019
The 8th annual International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC), one of the main events co-hosted by REN21, is almost upon us! The event will take place over four days (22-25 October) in Seoul, South Korea. We are looking forward to a stimulating event, including a keynote opening address by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
KIREC Seoul will start on October 22, with 25 side events and is followed by a high-level opening on the 23rd. The KIREC programme is structured around five parallel tracks: Policy and Market Design, Cities, Finance, Technology & Industrialisation, Innovation: New Energy Solutions, and Social Dimension of the Energy Transition. Find out more about this year’s speakers, programme and site visits here.
Registration is still open (until 6 October); the event is free of charge and open to all.
Renewables in Cities – Global Status Report Launch
The first edition of the Renewables in Cities Global Status Report will come out in mid-November. This report is the first comprehensive resource to collaboratively map out the current trends and developments of renewable energy in cities. We believe the report will prove to be a powerful tool for accelerating renewable energy uptake at the city level, supporting city-level commitments, and inspiring continuous ambitious action.
Thank you to all of those who provided comments during the peer review period. The final report will be published in mid-November. Until then, you can read the Preliminary Findings.
Planning the electricity grid of the future
Nearly a year ago, REN21 launched a project on Paris Agreement-compliant Scenarios for Energy Infrastructure in Europe. By engaging directly with civil society, a consortium of REN21, the RGI, CAN-E and the EEB is developing an energy infrastructure scenario that complies with ambitious 1.5°C targets. The project is also providing critical feedback to Europe’s main grid infrastructure scenario development programme (TYNDP ). If you are interested about learning more about the project contact Duncan at REN21.
Development of REN21’s Renewables 2020 Global Status Report (GSR 2020) is already underway!